Photosynthesis Research

, Volume 137, Issue 1, pp 129–140 | Cite as

Photoinhibition of photosystem I in Nephrolepis falciformis depends on reactive oxygen species generated in the chloroplast stroma

  • Wei Huang
  • Mikko Tikkanen
  • Shi-Bao Zhang
Original Article


We studied how high light causes photoinhibition of photosystem I (PSI) in the shade-demanding fern Nephrolepis falciformis, in an attempt to understand the mechanism of PSI photoinhibition under natural field conditions. Intact leaves were treated with constant high light and fluctuating light. Detached leaves were treated with constant high light in the presence and absence of methyl viologen (MV). Chlorophyll fluorescence and P700 signal were determined to estimate photoinhibition. PSI was highly oxidized under high light before treatments. N. falciformis showed significantly stronger photoinhibition of PSI and PSII under constant high light than fluctuating light. These results suggest that high levels of P700 oxidation ratio cannot prevent PSI photoinhibition under high light in N. falciformis. Furthermore, photoinhibition of PSI in N. falciformis was largely accelerated in the presence of MV that promotes the production of superoxide anion radicals in the chloroplast stroma by accepting electrons from PSI. From these results, we propose that photoinhibition of PSI in N. falciformis is mainly caused by superoxide radicals generated in the chloroplast stroma, which is different from the mechanism of PSI photoinhibition in Arabidopsis thaliana and spinach. Here, we provide some new insights into the PSI photoinhibition under natural field conditions.


Chlorophyll fluorescence High light Methyl viologen Photoinhibition Photosystem Superoxide 



The maximum quantum yield of PSII


Methyl viologen


The maximum photo-oxidizable P700


Photosystem I


Photosystem II


Reactive oxygen species


The quantum yield of photosystem I (PSI)


The quantum yield of non-photochemical energy dissipation in PSI owing to a shortage of electron donors


The quantum yield of non-photochemical energy dissipation in PSI owing to a shortage of electron acceptors


The effective quantum yield of photosystem II (PSII)


The quantum yield of regulated energy dissipation in PSII


The quantum yield of non-regulated energy dissipation in PSII


Photosynthetic electron flow through PSI


Photosynthetic electron flow through PSII



This work is supported by National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant 31670343) and Youth Innovation Promotion Association of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (Grant 2016347).

Author Contributions

WH and S-BZ designed the study. WH conducted experiments. WH, MT, and S-BZ analyzed data. WH wrote the first draft of the manuscript, which was intensively edited by all authors.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Kunming Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of SciencesKunmingChina
  2. 2.Department of Biochemistry, Molecular Plant BiologyUniversity of TurkuTurkuFinland

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